Mike Huckabee is running for President, which will hopefully be almost as fun as the last time he decided to do that. And he certainly kicked things off with a bang. In the speech declaring his candidacy, Huckabee had this, inter alia, to say:
“When I hear the current president say he wants Christians to get off their high horse so we can make nice with radical jihadists, I wonder if he could watch a western from the fifties and be able to figure out who the good guys and bad guys are.”
Huckabee’s objection to Obama’s (incidentally mischaracterized) comments from the National Prayer Breakfast in February is neither all that surprising nor new. My recent trip to Portugal — where I, among other things, took a fabulous tour of Inquisition-related sites in Lisbon — drove home for me that Obama clearly had things right:
And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.
So I don’t have anything much to add to those who responded to Christian protests (e.g. Obama “has offended every believing Christian in the United States“) at the time these words were originally spoken. Plus, I already said my piece on Crusaders back when I was a senior in high school. So, yawn.
What is new, however, is Huckabee’s claim that “a western from the fifties” represents a black and white morality play, with clear heroes and villains easily discernible by any upstanding individual in possession of a working moral compass (but not Obama).
Now, I’m pretty sure Blazing Saddles and Fievel Goes West (and I suppose portions of Toy Story and the Lego Movie) are just about the only “westerns” I’ve ever seen, so I hardly consider myself an authority on the subject.
That said, I know enough about the Cowboy & Indian genre that Huckabee’s words told me he’s the kind of guy who always casts the protagonist as hero — which is probably also how he apparently came to admire Crusaders, and the British colonialists in Kenya. But that is an exceedingly silly thing to do. Check this out:
If you don’t want to watch all five minutes, here’s a key excerpt: “Now we all know every movie needs a villain, but during the last hundred years, more than 4,000 movies have cast Indians in that role, depicting them as bloodthirty savages.” Four. Thousand. And if you somehow think things were different by the 1950s, think again.
Indeed, the most distressing thing I learned from this whole episode is that it’s possible for some people to watch those old movies and think the roles of hero and villain are at all clearcut. So in case this still isn’t getting through to anyone: European immigrants to this continent did some terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things to the people they found here, added insult to injury by casting them as villains, and somehow Huck (and something tells me he’s not alone) bought it. Jesus fucking Christ. Makes me so angry, I could scalp him.
Honestly, I thought it was hard to get dumber than trying to dispute Obama’s take on the Crusades, but Huckabee somehow managed to pull it off. There should honestly be a constitutional requirement for presidential candidates to officially recognize(+) what exactly white settlers put the Native Americans through, but until then somebody please get this guy a copy of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.* And for the love of God (who Huckabee so dearly loves) do not under any circumstances vote for him. Not that I should have to tell you that.
*Incidentally, my favorite book in charades.